The Calvary of “water hunters” in Burkina Faso

Achille Sawadogo
3 min readApr 25, 2019


A row of barrels in front of a fountain waiting for water, Ouagadougou, April 2019

As every year, Ouagadougou is experiencing again this year, water shortages. With the heat wave, the situation is deteriorating day by day. Despite announced government solutions, people are staying awake to see the first drops of water flow from their faucets or fountains, both in the capital and in many cities across the country.

It’s a sad spectacle that is offered in recent weeks in Ouagadougou. In front of the fountains, it’s the big affluence. ‘We spend hours waiting for the water to finally flow from the tap’, sighs a resident. Very often, it is at the cost of arguments that one ends up filling his can of water of 2 litters. Some of them are traveling through several neighborhoods, visiting acquaintances, hoping to bring some water back home. But most are forced to squirt in front of their faucet. For hours, they wait for the arrival of the “blue liquid”. In some neighborhoods, the wait is so long that households are sometimes forced to wake up at late hours to collect the precious liquid.

Women and girls are the most involved in this suffering

What are the reasons for this lack of water?

Among the causes of this shortage are the difficulties encountered by the National Office of water and sanitation (ONEA) to supply the water, which the. This national company is struggling to meet the demand of an ever-growing city. In addition to this is the works as part of the Ziga II project which aims to meet the capital’s water needs by 2030. This Ouagadougou drinking water supply project was launched in 2015. The water, which will arrive in the capital, will be pumped from the Ziga River, on which a water retention dam has been built (Source: AfriK 21). The overall distribution network is thus disturbed.

When will this calvary end?

The populations seem skeptical of the promises made by the government because they live this situation every year, at the same period (April is a pick). It’s always the cross and the banner to get water.

With the construction of the water towers, the connections and the strategies undertaken by ONEA, we hope that this situation will be settled for the happiness of the populations.

In addition to cans filled with water, these kids have bought a pack of water in sachets to cover their needs



Achille Sawadogo

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner